Beating the COVID-19 blues

 Though things are starting to open back up from the COVID-19 lockdown, people are still finding themselves spending a lot more time at home than they are used to. Being “trapped” inside for so long can often affect our moods and have us feeling down, but there are a lot of things you can do to distract yourself from and alleviate these feelings.

 One thing that I have been doing a lot of since the pandemic began is cleaning. I figure that, if I am going to be spending a lot of time at home, it should be clean! Instead of waiting for spring to get here to deep clean your house, take advantage of the time now. You can clean out all of your major appliances, such as the refrigerator, stove and microwave. Don’t forget to go through your pantry goods and check the expiration dates. Canned goods and condiments do have a shelf life and it is best to throw these products away after their expiration date. You might also want to consider reorganizing how you store your pantry goods and/or cookware, dishes and utensils! Is there a more functional way than they are currently sotred? After the kitchen, go through the rest of your home, room by room, and evaluate its needs.There are bathrooms to deep clean, closets to organize and clutter to go through. All of this is a great way to keep yourself busy and pass the time. If you are doing a good job and working up a sweat, you will be able to sleep great that night too, and maybe even sneak in a nap!

 There is nothing like a quiet day at home paired with something to read. Whether you like reading novels or articles online, there is a million things out there to choose from. Though I’ve mostly been reading news articles given everything going on recently, I really want to read some science fiction books that I have laying around and have yet to get to. I would suggest finding something that’s a lengthy or has multiple parts so that you can have a long-term goal to work through. If the book you want to read has been adapted into a tv show or movie, watch it after you’re done reading and compare the two adaptations. It can give you a good reason to throw popcorn at your television screen everytime you see something that is not correct from the written version.

 If reading isn’t your cup of tea, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Discovery+ and Disney+ are really great options. There is enough content on these platforms to keep you occupied for the rest of your life! You can watch every Disney movie ever made with your kids or take in one of Netflix’s exclusive shows such as Locke & Key. Dive into new fictional worlds and binge on them for a while as a family. As long as your don’t spend the rest of your life in front of the tv, we promise it won’t rot your brain. Besides, Hulu has the entire Seinfeld series as well as King of the Hill. What more do you need in life?

 In this current age of everyone communicating virtually, a handwritten letter to a loved one or friend can be a really nice thing to do. It’s practically a lost art form these days. So, throw the texts and emails out the window and sit down with some nice stationary and your favorite color pen. Don’t worry about scribbling out your words in a hurry—there’s no rush. You can take your time, practice your cursive, and catch up with your loved ones the old fashioned way. Even better, if you have kids, make sure they know their cursive letters. With the fast changes in school circulum these days, they might need some practice. If you’re not sure who to write, there are also places online where you can find a pen pal to communicate with, and due to the pandemic, I would imagine that these services are more popular than ever.

 For those of us with critters, they are a great way to keep yourself occupied. Whether you have a cat, dog or a gerbil, they would definitely appreciate some extra play time, and playing with a pet will almost always lift your spirits. Believe it or not, your fur baby has probably sensed all of the stress you’ve been going through due to the pandemic and would probably appreciate some extra one-on-one time with you. Once it’s time for a break, snuggle up with them and relax.

 Assuming that you can’t get out and go to the mall, you can still definitely go shopping online. Fill out your click list to make grocery shopping a breeze. Some places like Kroger even deliver groceries these days! Or you can browse Amazon and get some things that you’ve been putting off picking up because they’re not available locally.

 You can invest your new free time to learn a new hobby or craft, too! There are a billion tutorial videos on how to do just about anything you would ever want to learn on YouTube. You can learn to cook, try new recipes and share them with your family members when it’s safe to mingle. Or perhaps you would like to learn how to sew so you don’t have to take your clothes to a seamstress or tailor anymore. Pants too long? Hem them yourselves. Small hole in your shirt? Patch it up. All in all, it’s a great life skill to have and it would probably make your grandparents really proud that you took the time to learn something that was practically an everyday occurnace when they were growing up. If those sorts of hobbies are not your thing, maybe just learn a new exercise or yoga routine that’s right for you. Beachbody on Demand has practically hundreds of different routines for you to chose from to stream in the comfort of your home.

 Speaking of exercising, it’s more important now that we’re spending a lot more time on the couch than usual. You don’t have to go crazy, but you would be surprised what standing up and just walking around for a while can do. If you’ve got stairs in your home, go up and down them a few times. Take a few deep breaths every now and then while you’re lounging around to keep your lungs active and your blood oxygenated.

 I enjoy playing video games, and there really is something out there for everyone. Especially now that we all have smart phones with tons of free apps, you can find something that is bound to entertain you and keep you occupied. You can also play games like chess online against real people to make it more of a social experience.

 Even if we can’t see each other in person, we can still reach out to family and friends! FaceTime is a great way to see a friendly face and catch up on how things have been. It’s also a great way to stay connected to those that are important to us and offer each other a bit of support during these stressful times.

 Rearranging your living space can also freshen things up a bit and lift your mood. Maybe move the couch to the other side of the room or rearrange some of your tables and chairs. A change of environment and perspective can help keep things feeling upbeat and different.

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